A new website, shorebirdslaughter.com, is highlighting the slaughter (not an over-emotive term given the details below) of migratory shorebirds on the Caribbean island of Barbados. Below is the homepage text (I’ve not asked permission yet – I wanted to get the info online asap – but if Michael Shemit, the site owner, would like me to remove this post I will of course do so):
Annual Slaughter of Migrating Waders on Barbados
One would not normally associate the holiday island of Barbados with the highly organised annual shooting of tens of thousands of south migrating waders from Canada and the US, yet this is exactly what happens between August and November each year.
The shooters consist of the plantocracy and wealthy businessmen of Barbados, a small but powerful minority with considerable economic and political influence.
The shooting takes place on a number of shallow, artificial lakes or “shooting swamps” with lures, caged birds and amplified bird calls to attract the exhausted flocks which circle down gratefully only to be met by sustained volleys of repeater shot-gun fire.
Sometimes the shooters wait for the birds to settle before opening fire. It is a point of honour to kill every bird and the swamps compete with one another for the size of the day’s bag.
The flocks often consist of mixed species and none are spared. Possibly the last Eskimo curlew (now extinct) was shot in the 1960′s. The breasts are cut off and used as cocktail snacks.
These birds have year round protection in their home countries and there is special concern over some species; the American golden plover is one example of a rapidly shrinking population. Barbados has a wild bird protection law on its statute books which is never enforced. Barbados is also a signatory to CITES, (The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species–part of the United Nations organisation). Several of the species of Shorebird which are shot in Barbados each year are listed on CITES Appendices as being either endangered or of concern. Nevertheless the Barbadian Government has taken no steps either to limit or ban swamp shooting.
There is no doubt that the indiscriminate slaughter of protected migrating birds is now a global issue with particular attention focusing on islands like Cyprus and Malta. It may surprise some to find Barbados in a similar category.
- If you would like to protest please write to the Minister on Barbados:
Doctor, The Honourable Denis Lowe, Minister for the Environment & Drainage.
- Email: email@example.com
- Postal address is: The Ministry for the Environment & Drainage, The S. P. Musson Building, Hinckes Street, Bridgetown, Barbados, West Indies